Bernardo Bertolucci broke the rules to skewer fascism in The Conformist

What makes a film a classic? In this video series, film scholar Bruce Isaacs looks at a classic film and analyses its brilliance.



Great Italian directors of the 1960s and 1970s were skilled visual stylists. Cinematic examples include L’Aventura (1960), The Leopard (1963) and Death in Venice (1971).

Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist, released in 1970, came out of this stunning era of Italian filmmaking.

Each frame of this film is a masterclass in cinematography, editing and design. Yet, the director breaks all the rules to challenge our expectations about what cinema can be.

In the opening shots, Marcello visits his mother’s villa. But with his unusual framing and coverage of space, Bertolucci creates a very different opening sequence.

See more video analysis of great movie scenes here.

Thanks to Shelagh Stanton (Digital Media, University of Sydney) for editing and mixing the audio.

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